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Fat Wreck Tour 2000
April 9, 2000
At Fitzgerald's In Houston, TX

by Samuel Barker
April 15, 2000

Fat Wreck 2000! Upon arriving at the Fat Wreck Tour 2000, I was filled with anticipation. This was my first assignment from a label. First thing on the agenda was to interview No Use For A Name. After searching Fitzgerald's entirely, all I could find was one of the guys from the Mad Caddies who told me the tour manager was downstairs in a travel trailer. I went down there, and found some of the guys from No Use For A Name and proceeded to interview them.

When the interview ended it was just about 8:00, so I made my way upstairs because The Ataris were taking the stage. This was the first time I had ever seen The Ataris, and I was impressed with them. They tour through their set in about 20 minutes. Were impressive for such a young band. The highlight of the set was the very last song they played, "San Dimas High School Football Rules". This was a great way to end a set. Everyone was jumping around, the band was getting crazy with it, Kris Roe gave up guitar duties to one of the roadies to be better fit to sing his heart out, and the best part, everyone was singing along. Moments like that make this band a little more special. And they are a special band.

The next band up was The Mad Caddies. They were fun to watch, but I spent most of my time talking to friends I had seen there. The horn section had a very Voodoo Glow Skulls type sound. But the rest of the band lacked the originality. So much so that the guitarist kept talking to people on the side of the stage throughout most of the set while he just upstroked away. The ska edge is getting boring when it's done in the same context over and over. The lead guitarist saved the band. He had a great deal of energy, and went completely insane throughout most of the set. The rest of the band sorta walked through the motions of being a punk-ska band. The crowd seemed to love them, but I just wasn't too impressed. There are still so many allieways to explore with ska, but no one ever goes down them. Instead they stay mediocre following the status quo.

Finally, one of my favorites bands was taking the stage. No Use For A Name was finally coming to rock ass. I ran backstage to get a quick pre-performance picture with Dave, Matt, and Rory. I had no idea where Tony was, he just sorta bounced around all night. But Matt and Rory were gracious hosts during the interview, so I was stoked to get a pic with them. They went on stage and proceeded to kick ass. Dave's guitar playing fit nicely with the band. The last time I've seen them live was in 1995 and Ed Gregor was the guitarist. So Tony and Rory were the only members who were there from the last time is saw them. Matt was in Face To Face who played that day, but you get the idea. But I was very impressed with the band. Matt Riddle is a great, energetic bass player. He was jumping around and playing into the crowd. It was great. Tony Sly just played the rhythm and sang is heart out. Rory Koff was being a mad man behind the kit, and Dave was rocking out the lead. They sounded so good, and were so tight. The played songs covering a great deal of releases. One of the best performances I've seen. And as a bonus, I was running across the stage with my camera to get back to the band side, and I got thrown into taking down the amps and stuff for No Use For A Name. So because of this I was able to snag Rory's set list!

The final band of the night was Good Riddance. This was the first time I had seen or heard this band, and all i could say afterwards was "damn!" They were so good. The sound was cutting, and very tight. They pulled the bouncers off the stage to promote stage diving. The move did result in an injury to the bassist. An stage diver knocked the mic right into his eye. And miraculously he only missed a few notes to rub it. Their set roared through like a freight train. A great band I'll be sure to see again.

The show ended around 11:30. A good 3.5 hours of punk rock. It was amazing, the set up time between bands was like 5 minutes at the most. They were there to put on a great concert and did just that. I would like the thank Vanessa from Fat Wreck Chords for the passes, and the interview opportunity. I would also like to that Matt and Rory from No Use For A Name for being completely cool and helping me out all night. Thanks!

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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